Monday, February 20, 2006

God Bless America

Kind of appropriate for President's Day, isn't it? Today, we celebrate the two most beyond-reproach Commander-in-Chiefs in our country's history.

Anyway, this story:

Holocaust Denier Sentenced

And this band's concert reminded me how great we have it here. In case you are too lazy to read the story - a British History professor, who (among other comments) stated he thought that most Jews in Nazi Concentration Camps died of disease, and not gassing, was sentenced to 3 years in jail for voicing this opinion.

Of course, it doesn't matter how the Jewish prisoners died, they shouldn't have been there in the first place. He also stated that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. I thought historians were generally fact based people? Nut job, for sure, but most academic types seem to be.

He's now recanted some of what he's said, but it's too late for him - he was sentenced for a speech he made in 1989!! It's pretty unsettling to think that someone can be thrown in jail for their words.

Of course the news organizations had to point out that he was a "right wing" historian. It's news to me that there are right and left wings to history, but it isn't news to me that the people who revel in this kind of categorization conveniently forget to mention that the Nazis were a left wing organization. It's right there in the name: National Socialist Party. They were the kind of party that would have, oh, I don't know...thrown someone in jail for saying something they disagreed with.

As for the concert I went to last night...I guess now I know a little bit how Michael Moore would feel at a Toby Keith concert. The only difference being, I was listening to good music. Asylum Street Spankers, the Austin-based band, was kind of a Squirrel Nut Zippers meets Barenaked Ladies meets bluegrass hootenanny, at a MoveOn (.org, I won't give them the honor of being hyper-linked in my blog) fund-raiser. If you know me, not generally the kind of folks I hang with. Of course, the music kicked ass, in between all the Bush-bashing. It was nice to be able to enjoy the music, and not have to agree with their ideology.
It's also nice to know that they can say those things without facing prosecution. Whenever some bleeding-heart lefty ends up in office, I can also make fun of him (or her) without similar retribution.

I'll leave you with a great President's Day related quote from my favorite little liberal author (and voice talent from The Incredibles), Sarah Vowell:

From The Partly-Cloudy Patriot

"I glance at the kid with envy. He's at that first, great, artsy-craftsy age when Americans learn about Abraham Lincoln. How many of us drew his beard in crayon? We built models of his boyhood cabin with Elmer's glue and toothpicks. We memorized the Gettysburg Address, reciting its ten sentences in stovepipe hats stapled out of black construction paper. The teachers taught us to like Washington and to respect Jefferson. But Lincoln - him they taught us to love.

Happy President's Day!

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